As you can see from the image above and the ones below, the currently-under-review plans for historic Domino Sugar refinery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, are quite stunning. But is top architect Rafael Viñoly’s sustainable vision for the vacant 11-acre industrial site too grandiose for its own good?
Since the Domino Sugar refinery closed its doors after 150 years of operation in 2004, the big question has been, of course, what’s next? The refinery site spans five blocks along primo waterfront real estate on the East River, so there’s more than a bit of room to work with. Rafael Viñoly Architects’ $1.5 billion plan, dubbed New Domino, is commendable: it repurposes the landmarked refinery building itself and flanks it with several high-rise residential buildings and a riverside park to create a whopping, 2.8 million square-foot, 2,200-unit residential complex. Thirty percent, compared to the normal 20 percent, of the units will be dedicated to low- and middle-income families.
What’s more, RVA’s vision is a sustainable one, one that in addition to the reuse of the historic refinery calls for a massive amount of open-to-the-public green space including a 1-acre open lawn along the East River. The buildings will feature green roofs that control storm water runoff and curb the “heat island effect.” LEED certifications are also in the works — after all, they’ve got to keep up to speed with Battery Park City, another massive, LEED-happy, waterfront residential complex in NYC.
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